KIGALI - Heads of State from the East African Community member states have started arriving for the Ninth Summit and Retreat of Heads of State of the EAC. The Presidents will also attend the first East African Investment Conference which begins today. Presidents Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Burundi’s Jean Pierre Nkurunziza and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni were already in the country by press time. Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete was expected early this morning. Museveni is the current chairman of the regional bloc to which both Rwanda and Burundi joined last year. The conference, which is taking place for the first time, is expected to bring together a cross-section of businessmen to explore investment opportunities in both Rwanda and the region.
According to the Director General of the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) which is the organiser of the event, over 1,000 delegates are already in the country from different parts of the world to participate in the conference.
“This number is 50 percent more than what we expected and we are foreseeing a very successful meeting,” RIEPA boss, Francis Gatare said by telephone last evening.
He said that this was an appropriate chance for Rwandans to take advantage of the event and showcase goods and services they provide.
“With this number of delegates, we are expecting at least a million US dollars to be spent in just two days; Rwandans should make use of this by demonstrating their characteristic high level of hospitality,” he said.
According to Gatare, this conference, being the first of its kind, shows what value the business community sees in regional integration. President Paul Kagame is expected to take over the reigns of the chairmanship of the EAC.
After a plenary session to be held at Serena, the Heads of State will proceed to a Strategy Retreat at Village Urugwiro.
The conference, which will take place at the Kigali Serena Hotel, will be held for two days, ending Saturday.